People protest against the new rent law in Beirut, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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A group of lawyers said Friday that Speaker Nabih Berri told them the controversial new rent law could not go into effect as it currently stands, following a petition that called for the complete withdrawal of the legislation. In a meeting involving several tenants and the committee of lawyers that represent them, Berri said the Constitutional Council's annulment of three articles had rendered the law ineffective, the head of the committee Adib Zakhour told The Daily Star. These tenants pay minimal rent fees that often amount to less than LL1,000,000 a year and are protected from rent hikes. The new law will see their rent rise incrementally over the next six years until it reaches 5 percent of the home's value, and also gives landlords the right to take back the property after nine years without paying tenants compensation. Zogheib argued that the government was providing incentives for companies to build "rent-to-own" properties that have low rent to address the affordable housing problem, and he believes that such property development is better left to the private sector.While he acknowledged the new-law would be difficult to implement, he said it protected poor renters.
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